Bon Bibi reminds the people not to take more than they need
Bon Bibi is the “Lady of the Forest.” She is the protector of those who venture into the nature setting. The story goes that she was brought to the Netidhopani forest, which is located in the western edge of Sundarbans jungles. History says, that she hails from Saudi Arabia and her father, who was a trader, left her in the forest. It was her step-mother who requested that the child be left in the forest, and her father followed orders.
Later on, she became the protector of all who enter the forest. It makes no difference if you are Muslim, Hindu, or Christian; all who enter the forest pay their respects to Bon Bibi. Bhabotaron Paik the forest guard says, “Each time we go to the jungles we make a promise to Ma Bon Bibi: that we will not take more than we require from the forest, or else we antagonise her”.
According to Firstpost.com, Bon Bibi’s temple is at the entrance of the forest preserve that Paik works at. Every day, as part of his routine, he first visits the temple and pays his respects. Nearby there is a small freshwater pond that the forest department constructed for wildlife. The Bengal tigers, frequent this area that is across from a heavily fenced in office area.
A board near the water has postings that tell the usual hours that the tigers come to drink. The pug marks and cameras located at the watch towers can track their movements. Years ago, all of these efforts were futile when Debnath Mondal, a tiger rescuer, was attacked by a tiger near to Bon Bibi’s temple, said the Firstpost.com report.
At night it is pitch black. Theater performers reenact the story of Bon Bibi, and many gather near the shrines to watch the performances. To them, it is also a way to show their respect to Bon Bibi and show the solidarity among everyone. Many keep statues of the deity in their bags, or somewhere on their person. Nityanand Roy Karmakar, a forest ranger, says “The goddess enlightens people to go back as soon as their requirement is fulfilled, that is keeping the order of the jungles.”
The terrain is hard to live on and the native people rely on Bon Bibi to help them through the hardships. Freshwater and saltwater are constantly mixing and dry areas get washed away by large waves. This makes it difficult to draw boundaries and put up fences to divide humans and nature; forcing them to coexist. The people in the area never hesitate to thank Bon Bibi for all she does.
-prepared by Abigail Andrea, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @abby_kono
Poaching incidents for consumption and local trade have more than doubled during the lockdown period, according to a recent study. A report published by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network with WWF India support, indicated that despite consistent efforts of the law enforcement agencies, wild animal populations in India are under “additional threat” during the lockdown period.
The highest increase in poaching was reported to be of ungulates mainly for meat, and the percentage jumped from nearly eight out of 22 per cent pre-lockdown to 44 per cent during the lockdown period. The second group which showed a marked increase was poaching of ‘small mammals’, including hares, porcupines pangolins, giant squirrels, civets, monkeys, smaller wild cats.
Although some have always been in high demand in the international markets, most hunting during the lockdown period is presumably for meat or for local trade. Cases for these rose from 17 per cent to 25 per cent between the pre-and lockdown periods. Among the big cats, leopard poaching showed an increase during the lockdown period as nine Leopards were reported to have been killed compared to four in the pre-lockdown period.
A total of 222 persons were arrested in poaching related cases by various law enforcement agencies during the lockdown period across the country, significantly higher than the 85 suspects reported as arrested during the pre-lockdown phase, the report stated. Incidences related to wild pet-bird seizures, however, came down significantly from 14 per cent to 7 per cent between the pre-lockdown and lockdown periods, presumably due to a lack of transport and closed markets during the lockdown period.
Larger birds such as Indian Peafowls and game birds such as Grey Francolins, which are popular for their meat, were reported to be targeted during the lockdown. There was less reporting of poaching and illegal trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles, with almost no seizures of these species during the lockdown period.
Saket Badola, Head of TRAFFIC’s India Office said, “The more than doubling of reported poaching cases, mainly of ungulates and small wild animals for meat is doubtless placing additional burdens on wildlife law enforcement agencies. Therefore, it is imperative that these agencies are supported adequately and in a timely manner so they can control the situation”.
Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India added, “If poaching of ungulates and small animals remains unchecked it will lead to depletion of prey base for big cats like Tigers and Leopards and a depletion of the ecosystems.” He said that it will lead to higher incidences of human-wildlife conflicts and will undermine the significant successes that India has achieved in the field of wildlife conservation. (IANS)
Venice, the beautiful Italian city where nature meets culture, was recently in news, when calm returned to its overtourism-affected waters with aquatic life shining through clear canals.
Closer home, monkeys, buffalos, cows, and dogs have all come to be increasingly sighted on Indian streets, as human life remained under a tight lockdown from March-end. In Udaipur, one could spot fish swimming in the lake after decades.
Images from across the world have presented a very interesting picture – with people indoors, wild animals can be seen roaming the streets, birds sing on balconies, the dolphins have made a comeback in the rivers and the skies are blue and the air is clean, says WWF India on a campaign film ‘Our Planet, Our Home’, that visually illustrates this human-animal contrast.
The short film, that puts together visuals from across the world, is a clever satire on the idea of freedom, and how reduced human activity has led to the animal kingdom spreading its wings to territory it is kept out of.
“Any kind of development and industrial activity will have some impact on nature. What we have seen in the last few weeks, is that when human activity is decreased, and when we start behaving responsibly, we see the difference. Most of us are locked in our homes, not just because someone advised, but because we are also afraid of infection. If this responsible behavior was demonstrated against climate change, against use of plastics, today we’d live in a different space,” Dipankar Ghose, Director of the Wildlife and Habitats, WWF India told IANSlife.
Adding, Himanshu Pandey, Marketing Communication Director at WWF India says that he cannot imagine life, without wildlife. “When we talk about wildlife, it’s about their habitats, their ecosystem. Without nature, no human activity – whether economic or otherwise – is possible. This contrast of us being locked up in our houses and wildlife moving about freely in urban spaces, this is a reminder of the cruciality of conservation,” he said over phone.
According to WWF’s Living Planet Report, we have lost 60 percent of wildlife populations in the last 44 years, globally. So when we step out of our houses after the lockdown, let’s ensure we protect this biodiversity and build a sustainable world where nature and people coexist. This is a film that aims to inspire individuals, businesses and governments to strengthen positive action to help build a better world for our future generations, he added.
The campaign film, which puts forth a question of coexistence as compared to human-animal competition – “what remains to be seen is whether this will continue once life returns to normal” – has been developed by McCann Bangalore and Native Films.
“In advertising, we believe that all good ideas come from simple observations or insights. This insight came from the site of animals, who were on the streets while humans were caged inside their houses. This was like a role reversal of sorts. This irony was unmistakable in a sense. It was a big lesson for humanity because we truly understood the value of freedom, and not just ours, but that of other species too. It was a timely reminder that this place we call home, is theirs too. This is the film’s message: Coexistence is the key to our survival,” Sambit Mohanty, Creative Head (South), McCann told IANSlife.
Coexistence, as per Ghose, is more of a perception that something which is practically happening. “Animals are reclaiming, I would say, urban biodiversity has always been there, we started observing them, hearing different sounds, and appreciating them. If you want to hear these koyel sounds, we have to change certain things in our behavior,” he concludes. (IANS)
Om and Namah are separate words. Leaving those two words, everything else has to be combined into a single word. An NRI doctor- as a tribute to her motherland has written the qualities unique only to India as an ashtottarm (108 names).
As Indians, we are very blessed to receive the spiritual wisdom of the ancient seers (rishis) of India that shaped our values, customs, traditions and culture for millennia.
Though I now live in the United States, I had the good fortune to grow up in India. As a result, the positive values included in this article were deeply instilled in me. They’ve made me more mindful, compassionate, and centered. They’ve also contributed to my success as a neurologist, teacher, and professor of medicine at Michigan State University and Central Michigan University. With that nostalgia in my mind, as a tribute to my motherland and with great enthusiasm I have written the qualities unique only to India as an ashtottarm (108 names). In today’s “modern” world, where the positive values are too often replaced with materialism, intolerance, violence, extremism, and terrorism; these mantras will help you stay calm and centered in face of adversity, and in the “little” moments. We can all find beauty, peace, strength everywhere we look—if we remember to look for it.
I believe ignorance is the root cause of all the problems in the world. Divisions, differences and duality are due to ignorance only and knowledge alone is the solution. I hope you feel that way when you read this article. And, in addition to you enjoying learning more about India, I hope this ashtottaram on our Bhāratamata brings you greater peace, happiness, and harmony.
‘Sri Bhārata Māta Ashtottaram
108 Sanskrit Mantras
Om and namah are separate words. Leaving those two words, everything else has to be combined into a single word.
Ekavimśaṫi means 21 (Eka- means One, Vimsati- means Twenty). Our body has 21 ṫaṫṫvams (essence, root, reality). The 3×7 Ṫrayi Sapṫa Samidha Kṛitaha is the offering of 21 sticks of fire wood (samidhās) in a homam. I have composed this song with very simple lyrics so that it’s easy to hum and sing by every Indian from a rickshaw puller to a college professor, house wives and children making it a catchy household song, constantly reminding us of the glory of our mother-land. According to Hindu culture, the earth, Bhoomi, is considered to be our mother.